Like many other Golden Age comic-book companies, Ace Periodicals was brought into existence by a pulp magazine publisher who noticed those upstart funny books were ringing in big profits thanks to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s Superman.
Ace rode the super-hero trend as long as it remained popular, but really made its mark with its post-WWII horror, sci-fi, crime and romance titles illustrated by the likes of Lou Cameron.
In fact, the creators behind such Ace titles as Web Of Mystery and Crime Must Pay The Penalty did their jobs so well that the small company found itself prominently featured in Fredric Wertham’s Seduction Of The Innocent.
The following story was published during Ace’s dalliance with the super-hero genre and features two of its more memorable characters: Lash (Originally “Flash,” but changed to avoid confusion with a certain Scarlet Speedster) Lightning and Lightning Girl.
The violence found in Ace’s earlier pulp and later horror titles is well represented, however, and artist Louis Ferstadt tiptoes into Daliesque surrealism in his depiction of the villainous Maestro’s hypnotic powers. Put together, “Die! You Must Die!” easily ranks among the more unusual long-underwear adventures of comics’ Golden Age.
The story originally appeared in Four Favorites #12 (Ace Periodicals, November 1943).